BOSTON — Massachusetts on Wednesday became the first state to institute a permanent ban on the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including mint and menthol cigarettes.
“I do believe sometimes somebody’s got to go first,” Gov. Charlie Baker said, moments after signing the ban. “That gives other people an opportunity to follow. I think in this particular case, I do hope other people follow.”
The ban on flavored vaping products will go into effect immediately. Practically, Baker has banned the sale of all vaping products until Dec. 11, so flavored vapes will never again be allowed to be sold in Massachusetts.
The sale of other mint and menthol tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars and chew, will be prohibited as of June 1, 2020.
While the federal government outlawed flavored cigarettes in 2009, mint and menthol cigarettes were exempt from that ban.
The bill will also impose a 75% excise tax on e-cigarettes, a rate similar to the tax on traditional cigarettes. Insurers will be required to cover smoking cessation counseling and products without copays.